June 7th, 2011
Concrete Jungle #2 (red), 2008, Spraypaint with 8 layer hand-cut stencil on hardboard
Title Unknown (“Boston Train Yard”?), date unknown (2007 or 2008 I believe), stencil & spraypaint
Just discovered Nakayama’s work tonight. His technique is prodigious, but even more impressive to me is his eye for the haunted beauty of urban space. Take “Concrete Jungle #2 (red)” for instance. Vegetation sweeps into and around this city streetshot, making it seem as if we’re clandestinely peering into citylife from some overgrown park copse, just having parted leaves, creepers and boughs to sneak a peek at what’s going on out there (continuing with that image, the hot reds make me think of some creature’s infrared vision). Also love the way the piece blends the vegetation with the city, effectively suggesting nature not just as pushed aside to give us a proper sightline, but actively covering & suffocating the buildings, cars and pavement, tidal waving into the street from the left. Strong work, as teeming as it is desolate.
I love the second piece too, lonesome freight containers in a railyard (couldn’t find title/date on this one, so if anyone has it, let me know!). I’ve long been fascinated by freight trucks, containers, cargo blocks, mobile storage units, etc. Something about their generic faceless mystery disturbs & draws me. He nails the mood I’m talking about: that blend of bleak blank utility & tabula rasa (anything could be in those units, or absolutely nothing; 5 tons of tickle me elmos or 50 corpses; they could be going to Alaska, Miami, Omaha, anywhere and everywhere, or just nowhere, fated to rust forgotten). Then there’s the color Nakayama adds: lovely vertical bands of Aurora Borealis-ness, splashing down across the bleak night, lighting up the train yard, sending up shimmery bubbles.
Check out more of Nakayama’s art here.